Many people suffer from insomnia and related sleep problems. Stress can disrupt the regular circadian (time-related) secretion of cortisol and can be a major cause of sleep problems. Cortisol normally obeys the body’s inner clock and responds to light and dark, morning and night. Cortisol levels are highest in the early morning and lowest at night. Cortisol helps to synchronize activity, patterns of eating, and patterns of sleeping.
Adaptogens regulate the production of cortisol, reducing stress. A relaxed, less stressful body allows for better and more rejuvenating sleep.
The following adaptogens aid the body in sleeping:
- American ginseng helps people with insomnia that is associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Ashwagandha is a calming adaptogen and traditionally is used for insomnia and nervous conditions.
- Eleuthero improves sleep quality and prevents nighttime waking.
- Jiaogulan is a calming adaptogen and is appropriate for anxious or agitated people with unstable hypertension, stress headaches and anxiety-induced insomnia.
- Rhodiola is used to regulate sleep disorders and improve sleep quality.
- Schisandra is reported to relieve insomnia and dream-disrupted sleep.
Adapted from Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief, by David Winston and Steven Maimes (Healing Arts Press, 2007).